From: South London
Sounds like: The UK rap Fat White Family, this horrorcore trio create sinister subterranean dub-hop and crisp quasi-grime about hating pretty much everything.
For fans of: Young Fathers, Odd Future, Wu-Tang Clan
Need to know: One of those character-based crews that laugh in the face of autocorrect – 808Charmer, Mumblez Black Ink and video director Pure Anibu$ – 808INK have been self-releasing albums into the amorphous online hinterland between grime and US psychedelic rap for almost three years, too uncatagorisable to fit any easily-signed slot thanks to their unexpected slabs of metal, house beats and Arctic Monkeys samples. They call their own music “dreality”. But their sour tales of Lundun – the “state within a city” that they claim to inhabit – has started to infest radio and festivals like 808INK poisoning.
What’s next: According to 1Xtra DJ A.Dot, 2017 belongs to them: “These guys have mastered ‘the vibe’ – they have perfected their own blend of wavy beats and hooky raps. They are due a big moment in 2017”
See them live: No live dates for next year just yet
Essential track: ‘Suede Jaw’
Sounds like: Buzzy electronic pop songs shrouded in mystery.
For fans of: Miike Snow, Jungle, Alt-J
Need to know: With no more information aside from striking and three confusing music videos – The Hour have whipped up hype with little effort thus far. Even Adele is a fan.
What’s next: Who knows? But we’re definitely excited to see when they let us into their world.
See them live: We’ll keep you posted about this elusive acts new live dates
Essential track: ‘Answer’
Sounds like: As soulful as a barrel of Sam Smiths and as celestial as Professor Brian Cox’s pillow talk, SLO’s minimal and spacious romances are the sound of gas giants smooching.
For fans of: The Weeknd, FKA Twigs, London Grammar
Need to know: A favourite of Lauren Laverne, who made the lead track from the ‘Atone’ EP one of her ten best songs of the year, SLO is the latest incarnation of Jess Mills – daughter of MP Tessa Jowell and tourmate of Leftfield and Emeli Sande. SLO is a major reinvention after having her fingers burned when Island records shelved her debut album in 2012 – inspiration, perhaps, for the spectral track ‘Shut Out Of Heaven’ on her self-titled 2016 comeback EP. The fightback begins.
What’s next: As Mills makes her majestic return, expect 2017 to involve even more new music
See them live: No current live dates for 2017, but expect that to change soon.
Essential track: ‘Nothing Hurts Like This’
Hannah Lou Clark
Sounds like: Sparse electronic production mixed with lo-fi guitar rock.
For fans of: St Vincent, Kevin Morby,
Need to know: Having left previous band FOE, Clark went solo with stunning results; both EPs to her name are full of crunching guitars and heartfelt lyrics. A solo career was the right move, it seems
What’s next: More new music from Clark will likely arrive in the coming months,
See them live: Stay tuned for new tour dates.
Essential track: ‘It’s Your Love’
From: Los Angeles
Sounds like: Poolside synth pop that will dazzle you in moments
For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, New Order, La Roux
Need to know: Much of the early attention around the group came from the mindblowing covers of Katy Perry and 1975 – but its their own material, like the infectious ‘Stonecold’ which shows them at their finest.
What’s next: 2016 brought a string of wildly successful singles – expect more exuberant material to follow.
See them live: No UK dates for 2017 just yet.
Essential track: ‘Stonecold’
Sounds like: Icy synth-driven electronica paired with intimate and hushed vocals.
For fans of: Bastille, 1975, Friendly Fires
Need to know: Their intense debut single ‘Let Me Go’ was inspired by German TV drama Deutschland 83, with the result providing an alternative insight into the lovable main character. An ambitious star, for sure.
What’s next: They supported Bastille on their huge UK arena tour, so don’t expect anythign they do in 2017 to fly under the radar.
See them live: Expect a slew of shows coming your way in 2017.
Essential track: ‘Let Me Go’
Sounds like: A twisted mess of electronica, dubstep and pop.
For fans of: Roisin Murphy, Katy B, Magnetic Man
Need to know: Having mastered the violin at a young age – Tsar B stopped waiting around for things to happen and penned, performed and self-produced her stunning debut release ‘EP’ which dropped earlier this year.
What’s next: Festival slots are already falling in line for 2017 – her mysterious live show will no doubt own next summer.
See them live: No UK dates just yet – but her previous UK show sold out instantly.
Essential track: ‘Swim’
Sounds like: Techno-tinged, wildly experimental electronica to make you dance and think.
For fans of: Wu Lyf, Jagwar Ma, Hot Chip
Need to know: An “electronic organisation made up of a rotating cast of anonymous drones”, Drones Club are true provocateurs. They’ve crashed Tory conferences and confused commuters with guerrilla gigs while their music is heavily politicised. ‘Chelsea Girl’, for example, is a protest song about transgender US solider Chelsea Manning who leaked classified information to WikiLeaks and has been held mostly in solitary confinement since being sentenced to 55 years in prison.
What’s next: They’re signed to PMR, home of Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Julio Bashmore and more, so they should be a pioneering force to reckon with over the next 12 months.
See them live: While they’ve no shows booked in right now, they’re bound to be making the UK’s venues and festivals brighter places throughout 2017.
Essential track: ‘Chelsea Girl’
From: Evanston, Illinois
Sounds like: Blissed out R&B/hip-hop made for lazy afternoons.
For fans of: Chance The Rapper, Frank Ocean, Anderson Paak
Need to know: He dropped his debut album ‘Nat Love’ earlier this year, but the rapper/singer/producer is already working on the follow-up, one which could continue his rise as one of US hip-hop’s hottest prospects at the mere age of 19.
What’s next: Album number two is in the works – and boy, it could be special
See them live: No live dates for Kweku have been announced.
Essential track: ‘Death Of A Salesman’
Words: Thomas Smith, Rhian Daly, Mark Beaumont, Larry Bartleet